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10. How is Judgment Relinquished?
Judgment, like other devices by which the world of illusions is maintained, is totally misunderstood by the world. It is actually confused with wisdom and substitutes for truth. As the world uses the term, an individual is capable of “good” and “bad” judgment, and his education aims at strengthening the former and minimizing the latter. There is, however, considerable confusion about what these categories mean. What is “good judgment” to one is “bad judgment” to another. Further, even the same person classifies the same action as showing “good” judgment at one time and “bad” judgment at another time. Nor can any consistent criteria for determining what these categories are be really taught. At any time, the student may disagree with what his would-be teacher says about them, and the teacher himself is inconsistent in what he believes.
2 “Good judgment” in these terms does not mean anything. No more does “bad.” It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he merely gives up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it. This is no sacrifice. On the contrary, he puts himself in a position where judgment through him rather than by him can occur. And this judgment is neither “good” nor “bad.” It is the only judgment there is, and it is only one: “God’s Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist.”
3 The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world’s learning, is the recognition that judgment in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion, but a fact. In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things, past, present, and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests, now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
4 Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever realizing you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision-making? Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment. Make then but one more judgment. It is this—there is Someone with you Whose judgment is perfect. He does know all the facts, past, present, and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgment on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
5 Therefore lay judgment down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened and walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgment. He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust instead of his own. Now he makes no mistakes. His Guide is sure. And where he came to judge, he comes to bless. Where now he laughs, he used to come to weep.
6 It is not difficult to relinquish judgment. But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost. All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome. All of the pain he looks upon is its result. All of the loneliness and sense of loss, of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death—all these have come of it. And now he knows that these things need not be. Not one is true. For he has given up their cause, and they, which never were but the effects of his mistaken choice, have fallen from him. Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace. Can it be difficult to want but this?
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